The Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, Abanga Abdullai, has debunked claims by the Minority that the government intends to sell off the Saglemi Housing Project to its cronies.
The Works and Housing Minister, Francis Asenso-Boakye on November 13 announced the government’s plans to sell off the Saglemi Housing project to a private developer.
But the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Nkoranza South, Emmanuel Kwadwo Agyekum, during a visit to the site by the Works and Housing Committee of Parliament accused the Akufo-Addo government of deliberately running down the facility as part of a grand scheme to later sell it off to close associates.
“Trust me I can prophesy to you today, that this is going to be sold to a family member. This is going to be sold to a friend, this is going to be sold to a businessman that is close to these guys in power who are saying it’s a failed project,” he contended.
Speaking to Citi News, Abanga Abdullai questioned the basis of the Minority’s claim, stressing that the government is yet to even know the prospective buyer of the project.
The Deputy Minister who doubles as Chairman of the Technical Committee set up to explore the possibility of selling the Housing Project emphasized that his outfit remains focused on discharging its mandate.
“The Committee was set up with institutional representation. We don’t know those who are coming from those institutions what their affiliations or what kind of person they are. The Minister is able to engage his people by looking at their mandate and hoping that they can bring in their professional expertise so that together we can find solutions to this Saglemi Housing project in a way that Ghanaians or the country will maximize whatever that is left there. So it is not true that the government is thinking of selling to any of its cronies. We don’t even know who may be interested in buying this property,” Abanga Abdullai said.
The 13-member technical committee comprises representatives from the Office of Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ghana Institute of Engineers, Institute of Architects, Ghana Institute of Surveyors, Ghana Institute of Planners, Public Procurement Authority, Lands Commission amongst others.
It has 30 days to deliver on its mandate. It includes drawing a roadmap for the sale of the Saglemi housing project, recommend suitable procurement processes, guide the procurement unit of the Works and Housing Ministry to prepare terms of reference that will be used to invite the private sector to bid for the housing project as well as execute a fair and transparent selection process for a potential private sector developer in acquiring the housing project.
The Saglemi housing project was started in 2012 under the NDC government to build 5000 housing units.
This did not materialize due to the alleged misappropriation of funds.
According to Francis Asenso-Boakye, 1,500 units built are currently inhabitable and an amount of about USD46 million is needed to provide water, electricity and storm drains.
According to him, the high court is looking into the issues of embezzlement and anyone found culpable for crime will be convicted.
It’s unclear what the terms and conditions will be between the government and the private developer, and what the state stands to gain.
Currently, a former Works and Housing Minister under the Mahama administration, Collins Dauda, is standing trial together with four others for allegedly causing financial loss to the State in the controversial housing project.
Mr. Dauda and the four others are facing 52 counts of criminal charges for intentionally misapplying public property, wilfully causing financial loss to the Republic, and dishonestly causing loss to public property.